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#1 californiadude

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 07:54 AM

i finished in December 2010 with a bachelor's in civil from CSU Long Beach, i have now moved back to the San Francisco bay area. Since March, i've sent out about 20 resumes to local cities and counties looking to intern, volunteer, or work entry level civil engineer positions.

i have not had any internship experience while in undergrad. I had 3.0 gpa. im scheduled to take the EIT in october this year.

i talked to a senior engineer at a local city, who recommended that i go to local ASCE chapter meetings and try to network and pass out my resume there after introducing myself.


im thinking worst case i go back to grad school in transportation in the fall. however, i was hoping to work first and instead possibly get an MPA (masters in public administration)


any suggestions?
thanks

#2 picusld

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 11:09 AM

QUOTE (californiadude @ Apr 22 2011, 03:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
i finished in December 2010 with a bachelor's in civil from CSU Long Beach, i have now moved back to the San Francisco bay area. Since March, i've sent out about 20 resumes to local cities and counties looking to intern, volunteer, or work entry level civil engineer positions.

i have not had any internship experience while in undergrad. I had 3.0 gpa. im scheduled to take the EIT in october this year.

i talked to a senior engineer at a local city, who recommended that i go to local ASCE chapter meetings and try to network and pass out my resume there after introducing myself.


im thinking worst case i go back to grad school in transportation in the fall. however, i was hoping to work first and instead possibly get an MPA (masters in public administration)


any suggestions?
thanks


2 things.

Be open to relocation.

Get a good head hunter.

#3 Capt Worley PE

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 11:46 AM

And twenty resumes is not even a start at a job search. I'd send out twenty a day.

Are you setting your salary expectations too high?

#4 willsee

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 12:09 PM

Are you only applying to positions posting openings?

My last two jobs I have got have been from me just looking at companies I would like to work for and sending in my resume. Both were hiring but said they didn't post the openings because they would be FLOODED with resumes from people not qualified to work there.

Also after calling to find out exactly who to address your resume/cover letter to, make sure you follow up with another phone call to see if they have any questions or concerns regarding your information (the phone call is to hopefully get a conversation with the person to maybe talk them into getting you an interview)

Going to the ASCE meetings are probably a good idea also. You can mingle, network and hopefully find out who is hiring. I would imagine most companies going away from the online postings and hiring by word of mouth.

Best of luck

#5 californiadude

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 12:25 PM

QUOTE (Capt Worley PE @ Apr 22 2011, 11:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And twenty resumes is not even a start at a job search. I'd send out twenty a day.

Are you setting your salary expectations too high?



where do you get a list of civil companies to apply for? i assume ur applying to companies out of state as well? i've been browsing info on civil engineering corps for the navy or air force. i'm not quite sure if it's actually doing engineering work or just some glorified laborer with an engineering degree. i may possibly go down that path if i get desperate.


im actually offering to volunteer my time for free to gain experience, yet surprisingly the broke state of California and local cities have not taken me up on my offer.

Edited by californiadude, 22 April 2011 - 12:26 PM.


#6 cableguy

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 12:29 PM

QUOTE (willsee @ Apr 22 2011, 07:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Also after calling to find out exactly who to address your resume/cover letter to


I think this is very important. I don't know how many randomly-faxed-in resume's I've taken straight from the fax machine to the trash can... that have our "President" from 2 years ago as the attn: person. He's gone. Obviously they haven't done research on our company. If they had, they'd realize the President is on the Board, but does not actually work there. He wouldn't be able to hire people anyway. The General Manager is the person in charge at our company.

Try to get the resume to the right hands, otherwise it hits the bin quickly.

#7 MGX

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 01:33 PM

I've always used shoe leather to get jobs. Suit up, print your resume on really nice cotton stock and hit the pavement. Either this method or networking has served me well. Hit up your college buddies also, maybe they can point you in a good direction.

#8 Capt Worley PE

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 01:34 PM

QUOTE (californiadude @ Apr 22 2011, 08:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Capt Worley PE @ Apr 22 2011, 11:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And twenty resumes is not even a start at a job search. I'd send out twenty a day.

Are you setting your salary expectations too high?



where do you get a list of civil companies to apply for?


Really????

#9 Desert Engineer

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 01:40 PM

QUOTE (californiadude @ Apr 20 2011, 11:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Capt Worley PE @ Apr 22 2011, 11:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And twenty resumes is not even a start at a job search. I'd send out twenty a day.

Are you setting your salary expectations too high?



where do you get a list of civil companies to apply for? i assume ur applying to companies out of state as well? i've been browsing info on civil engineering corps for the navy or air force.


Check out this website...

http://www.ejobs.org/

#10 willsee

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 01:41 PM

QUOTE (Capt Worley PE @ Apr 22 2011, 08:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (californiadude @ Apr 22 2011, 08:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Capt Worley PE @ Apr 22 2011, 11:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And twenty resumes is not even a start at a job search. I'd send out twenty a day.

Are you setting your salary expectations too high?



where do you get a list of civil companies to apply for?


Really????


Yeah...have to agree

What do people learn in college?

#11 MGX

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 01:50 PM

Check this handy link

#12 ALBin517

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 01:51 PM

QUOTE (californiadude @ Apr 20 2011, 05:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
i finished in December 2010 with a bachelor's in civil from CSU Long Beach, i have now moved back to the San Francisco bay area. Since March, i've sent out about 20 resumes to local cities and counties looking to intern, volunteer, or work entry level civil engineer positions.

i have not had any internship experience while in undergrad. I had 3.0 gpa. im scheduled to take the EIT in october this year.

i talked to a senior engineer at a local city, who recommended that i go to local ASCE chapter meetings and try to network and pass out my resume there after introducing myself.


im thinking worst case i go back to grad school in transportation in the fall. however, i was hoping to work first and instead possibly get an MPA (masters in public administration)


any suggestions?
thanks


Straight from college, I went door to door to every civil firm in the area. If they were taking applications, I completed one. If not, I left a résumé. When asked when I was available to start, I told them I had packed a lunch.

Really shop around for grad programs if that is what you want to do. I am presently doing Construction Management, which is 21 credits of CM and 12 credits of an approved specialty, which for me is Public Administration. But I'd suggest getting some work experience first. MPA would usually put you in line for some City Engineer / Engineering Supervisor jobs but not if you don't have experience.

#13 californiadude

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 08:03 PM

QUOTE (cableguy @ Apr 22 2011, 12:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (willsee @ Apr 22 2011, 07:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Also after calling to find out exactly who to address your resume/cover letter to


I think this is very important. I don't know how many randomly-faxed-in resume's I've taken straight from the fax machine to the trash can... that have our "President" from 2 years ago as the attn: person. He's gone. Obviously they haven't done research on our company. If they had, they'd realize the President is on the Board, but does not actually work there. He wouldn't be able to hire people anyway. The General Manager is the person in charge at our company.

Try to get the resume to the right hands, otherwise it hits the bin quickly.



i usually call the public works department and either speak to an engineer or human resources person and explain my situation and what i m looking for before sending them my resume and cover letter.


i've gone through this list of companies within my state and region: civilengineersource.com or engineerjobs.com

QUOTE
Really shop around for grad programs if that is what you want to do. I am presently doing Construction Management, which is 21 credits of CM and 12 credits of an approved specialty, which for me is Public Administration. But I'd suggest getting some work experience first. MPA would usually put you in line for some City Engineer / Engineering Supervisor jobs but not if you don't have experience.


i guess that's what i'll be doing next week and next month as i start selling myself at those ASCE meetings.


Edited by californiadude, 22 April 2011 - 08:04 PM.


#14 willsee

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 08:08 PM

Isn't California broke?
Why not apply to private firms as opposed to public

#15 solomonb

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 10:29 PM

OK, let's begin on this journey. As a former college Dean, I have done lots of this for graduating seniors-- I thought and still think that is part of the job the Dean-- help the grads find jobs after graduation.
Step 1-- Get involved with your school alumni group. Go to their happy hours, career fairs, etc. Dress appropriately and visit with as many folks as you can. Don't be greasy-- give a card, get a card. On the back of each card-- (have a good pen with you) write down 3 things that the individual who gave you the card said that will help in the job business. It may be the company president's name, the HR director, what department in Timbuktuu is hiring-- 3 key kernels that are important. That way you will now what you are doing when you get home.
Step 2-- Once home, send a THANK YOU note to everyone who gave you a card. You can make them on publisher or get some nice ones at the store. Thank You notes are a BIG DEAL-- this is easily done, but either is never done or poorly done. Just do it-- tell whom ever you visited with THANKS. YOu'll be surprised at the results.
Step 3-- Every morning, out the door at 0730, resumes, cards and a map in hand. Go pound on every door that is even close to what you want to do. Practice the elevator speech, be nice to the receptionist, the goal is to get the resume in the hands of someone other than the janitor. If you come home before 6PM, you are doing something wrong--either you ran out of resumes or you failed to plan your day.
Step 4-- Do it again the next day-- different shirt, different tie
Step 5--Repeat for 4 weeks. This is HARD WORK, however, these are HARD TIMES-- drastic conditions call for drastic actions-- you may think this is way over the top-- not so.

I used this same protocol with a kid that graduated from TCU. He had been looking for 5 months and no luck. He had already moved back in with Momma and DAddy and had to share a room with little brother. However, he did listen and he used the approach. He went to a career fair back at school, TCU, was interviewed by the team from the company and they took his resume. That day, they were not looking for resumes for engineers, however, they took his. They called him a couple of days later, he got a plant trip and an offer about 3 weeks later. His call to me was should he hold out for more money-- he was offered $69K as a BSME, with a moving and signing bonus. He told me that his offer was $10K higher than any of his classmates. I told him that there was probably an extra $5K on the table, however, he had been looking now for 7 months, was living with Momma and Daddy and sharing a room with little brother. My advice was to take the offer, say no more and go to the nearest church, denomination not important and PRAY TO GOD for at least an hour that GOD was watching.

Fast Forward a year, he made about $85K with overtime last year and has just been promoted to Associate Site Engineer. This is a true story-- no puffery--however, the technique works.

Good Luck in your job search!

A volunteer idea may be to work on a Habitat for Humanity House using your engineering skills. You will bump.gif into some folks that may be able to hook you up to a hiring official.

Let me know what happens.










#16 Kephart P.E.

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 04:27 PM

Be open to job opportunities not titled CIVIL ENGINEER. You seem hung up on this, which is why I mention it.

And a job with State/City Government right now is exactly where you don't want to be applying. Why? Not because they are bad jobs, but revenues to the government lags the overall economy so right NOW is when the recession is hitting their books....so they have less tax revenue --->they are not hiring anyone. Look towards the private sector. In a couple of years if you want to work for a government apply then.

My first job out of college was for a job titled Management Associate at a metal manufacturer. And that job only happened because I wrote a thank you letter then followed up with a phone call to HR after an preliminary interview, they informed me that a subsequent hiring freeze meant they would not fill the job, however a month later Corporate changed their mind and HR remembered me and my resume/letter/phone call and called me back.

Look for a company you want to work for, take ANY JOB (yes including manual labor) that they have and work hard they will promote you and give you a better one. If in a year you aren't happy look for a new job, but now you have "experience" <-----This is how it is done, no you don't get to take a trip to Europe/Costa Rica/Thailand on your parents dime or all the other b.s. college grads do these days and then blame the "Economy".

Yes you did work much harder for your degree than 90% of your peers (pats on the back) that gives you more options, but you still have to work really hard.

And I had a 3.25 GPA in ME, worked at UPS part time all thru college, was an Army Veteran, and had a decent work history before engineering school ....and I still needed to hustle.

Many engineering grads seem to have this expectation of just sending out a couple of (average quality) resumes signing up for Linked In and the offers are just going to come rolling in. It ain't going to happen that way.

Sorry for the harsh feedback, I understand this is a learing experience for you and I give you props for soliciting advice. I am one of the people at our firm that reviews resumes and sits in on some interviews and the recent grads are not impressing. I read one the other day that used the word "fabulous" in a cover letter.

#17 Kephart P.E.

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 04:28 PM

also take solomonb advice it isn't extreme or drastic and it will work.

#18 ALBin517

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 05:38 PM

QUOTE (Kephart P.E. @ Apr 23 2011, 03:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Be open to job opportunities not titled CIVIL ENGINEER. You seem hung up on this, which is why I mention it.



We hired a recent civil grad as an inspector. He put his time in and scored a great engineer job after about 12 months. A little work experience goes a long way for a young engineer.

Plus, his inspector time was under a PE and counts as work experience toward his four-year requirement. I doubt that's the case with any volunteer experience from Habitat or whomever.

#19 envirotex

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 06:40 PM

Follow solomonb's advice and also...

Get someone to independently review your resume (is it too long, too short, too many colors, not enough colors, spelling or grammar errors, etc...), and tailor your cover letter for the profiles of the individual companies that you visit. I'm not suggesting that you embellish your experience, but if you're applying for a job working for the Red Widget Company, make sure that they know that you know they make red widgets (not blue ones), and that one of your career objectives is to make the best red widgets, ever.

Good luck!

#20 californiadude

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 08:40 PM

QUOTE
Every morning, out the door at 0730, resumes, cards and a map in hand. Go pound on every door that is even close to what you want to do. Practice the elevator speech, be nice to the receptionist, the goal is to get the resume in the hands of someone other than the janitor.


do you mean literally drive door to door to engineering companies? a phone call won't do it? (gas's expensive these days)

@kephart: point taken, yeah i was talking to a senior eng. at a local city, he recommended also applying more towards private firms, since the govt jobs lag the economy by about 1 to 2 years.

this thurs. im going to an ASCE meeting in the bay area, to network and pass out my resume

i also just applied to grad school for a masters in Civil eng. as a backup in case i can't find a f/t job by fall.


thanks for the help guys, appreciate it

#21 willsee

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 09:04 PM

QUOTE (californiadude @ Apr 25 2011, 03:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE
Every morning, out the door at 0730, resumes, cards and a map in hand. Go pound on every door that is even close to what you want to do. Practice the elevator speech, be nice to the receptionist, the goal is to get the resume in the hands of someone other than the janitor.


do you mean literally drive door to door to engineering companies? a phone call won't do it? (gas's expensive these days)

@kephart: point taken, yeah i was talking to a senior eng. at a local city, he recommended also applying more towards private firms, since the govt jobs lag the economy by about 1 to 2 years.

this thurs. im going to an ASCE meeting in the bay area, to network and pass out my resume

i also just applied to grad school for a masters in Civil eng. as a backup in case i can't find a f/t job by fall.


thanks for the help guys, appreciate it


Phone calls are easy to ignore.

Good luck

#22 envirotex

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 09:12 PM

QUOTE (californiadude @ Apr 25 2011, 03:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE
Every morning, out the door at 0730, resumes, cards and a map in hand. Go pound on every door that is even close to what you want to do. Practice the elevator speech, be nice to the receptionist, the goal is to get the resume in the hands of someone other than the janitor.


do you mean literally drive door to door to engineering companies? a phone call won't do it? (gas's expensive these days)

i also just applied to grad school for a masters in Civil eng. as a backup in case i can't find a f/t job by fall.



Gas is expensive? Grad school is really expensive...That's why you need the map.

#23 solomonb

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 12:26 AM

Dude-- No the PHONE CALL will NOT DO! Don't even think about it. Yeah, gas is expensive, so is unemployment. Remember, what I said, this is HARD WORK, however, if you don't work hard now, you will never find a job-- trust me here.

Send me your resume if you want some unvarnished feedback. Note I said unvarnished-- I am not going to beat you up, I am going to help you find a job in your chosen profession. We all want to help you be a real success in this profession. However, what we are suggesting are techniques that indeed do work, unfortunately, for many of you, you have not been exposed to them. OK, no worries, we'll get them exposed and get you on the road.

Now, the trip planning question. You need to find 4-6 firms in a general location, map your route and begin. Same thing in the afternoon, another 4-6 firms. As somebody else mentiond, the phone is easily ignored, as is a random email. You will probably have only about 3 days of actual field work each week, the other 2 days are web research and preparation days to be damn sure that you know what the firm does, what they build, etc.

If you find some place that you may wish to interview, find one of the vendors that sells to that firm. See if you can find the salesman who calls on that firm. He/she may be able to get you in to visit with the hiring offical of the company.

Another idea that I have very successfully used is think about joining a service club in your area. Rotary, Lions, Exchange, Boys and Girls are all ideas. Here, you are hoping to not only join the club and do something, but also make some contacts that may be of assistance to you.

It is best if you could get 2-3 sets of eyes on your resume-- the more eyes that see it and help you polish it, the easier it will be for the hiring official to take you when he/she does not know which resume to select out of all that are essentially equal caliber.

OK, next question?

#24 ALBin517

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 12:49 PM

QUOTE (californiadude @ Apr 23 2011, 06:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE
Every morning, out the door at 0730, resumes, cards and a map in hand. Go pound on every door that is even close to what you want to do. Practice the elevator speech, be nice to the receptionist, the goal is to get the resume in the hands of someone other than the janitor.



i also just applied to grad school for a masters in Civil eng. as a backup in case i can't find a f/t job by fall.


thanks for the help guys, appreciate it


Masters in civil? You sure?

I have been in civil / surveying consulting for 15+ years now and have known one person who got a MS in civil. It did absolutely nothing for him, that I could see. Plus it cost him a year and several thousand dollars. Unless somebody wants to go into teaching and maybe pursue a PhD then I don't know why they'd go that route.

From the little I know about you, it sounds like you want to get into management. What I would recommend for the fall would be to consider taking some undergrad business classes. Undergrad classes cost less. The business classes would help with the GMAT or whatever it is for business school, which is another (usually high-cash) option. And if you decide to continue grad school thereafter, you will have your collateral classes out of the way to go the MBA route... which like I said, is a degree that is almost guaranteed to produce more cash than the MS in civil.

Worst case, you find a job in the meantime and have taken some extra classes in accounting, economics and administration ... which is never a bad thing for anybody who might want to get into management.

Also, I don't know anybody in government hiring who would not consider you for an "MPA required" job if you have an MBA. But the MBA is much more desirable on the private side than the MPA. I would compare it to a civil bachelor's versus environmental - civil majors are considered for environmental jobs but not usually the other way around.

Edited by ALBin517, 26 April 2011 - 01:00 PM.


#25 Road Guy

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 05:49 PM

check AECOM's website, they seem to have a decent amount of jobs available throughout the nation.. ..

#26 californiadude

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 07:43 PM

so i went to an ASCE meeting to network yesterday. it was ok, free food and asked a bunch of advice of working engineers. got some cards, ill follow up w/thank you emails and probably add them to my linkedin on monday.

i got an interview lined up nxt tuesday for an internship with the public works department of a local city. he said he's going to test me on construction management plan reading. what is that?
how should i prepare for that? i've never taken a course on plan reading. are there any books at barnes & nobles or borders on this that i can learn and prepare from in 3 days?

i got another email today asking if im still interested in an assistant engineer position at another county. i emailed back saying yes, and am free to meet whenever's convenient.

there's another ASCE meeting ill be going to locally in a week to network some more.
so if nothing pans out within 1 or 2 wks, ill be doing solomonb's recommendation of going door 2 door.

Edited by californiadude, 29 April 2011 - 07:45 PM.


#27 Road Guy

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 08:19 PM

const mgmt plan reading:

basically can you look at a set of plans and tell what certain things mean, if its roadway, then what does this catch basin mean, where are the Super elevation callouts, does the typical sections show full depth asphalt replacement or just milling and overlay...can you ready the quantity sections and check them versus whats called out on the construction plans...

if you dont have a lot of experience with plans you may want to find someone you know that works somewhere that does plans and have them give you a crash course on them, they can be confusing when you first look at them, basically there a big pile of crap that us engineers spend years on hoping that the contractor can make sense of them and build something...

#28 californiadude

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 08:30 PM

QUOTE (Road Guy @ Apr 29 2011, 08:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
const mgmt plan reading:

basically can you look at a set of plans and tell what certain things mean, if its roadway, then what does this catch basin mean, where are the Super elevation callouts, does the typical sections show full depth asphalt replacement or just milling and overlay...can you ready the quantity sections and check them versus whats called out on the construction plans...

if you dont have a lot of experience with plans you may want to find someone you know that works somewhere that does plans and have them give you a crash course on them, they can be confusing when you first look at them, basically there a big pile of crap that us engineers spend years on hoping that the contractor can make sense of them and build something...



hmmm, that's going to be a problem, i just relocated to northern california, but i graduated in southern california. so i dont know anybody who can teach me those things up here. do you know of any internet resources?


also, i just got another interview set up at another county but it's for a traffic engineering internship next wednesday. The engineer i spoke to over the phone said they can start me off pretty much right away on the internship because the current engineer quit today. both of these internships are unpaid initially.

should i be worried if i get offered a spot on tues, but then possibly get offered another spot on wed at a different county and have to renege on the first offer?

#29 snickerd3

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 08:40 PM

unpaid? really an engineering internship that is not paid...never heard of that before


#30 willsee

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 08:43 PM

QUOTE (snickerd3 @ Apr 29 2011, 03:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
unpaid? really an engineering internship that is not paid...never heard of that before


Not to mention he's already degreed.

I had never heard of unpaid internships (all of our Co-ops at Uni are/were paid) until I met my wife and she was on an unpaid internship.

#31 snickerd3

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 08:54 PM

even our states's intern postitions get paid...not much but they still get paid.

#32 Road Guy

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 09:12 PM

we had two guys that came to work for us for free to get job experience, one of them we ended up being able to hire, the other went back to school

but yes they were both engineer grads looking to get some work experience in this job market.. its a weird weird world


calidude - I would just seem very willing to learn anything when you go to meet with them. Good Luck!

#33 solomonb

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 09:52 PM

Dude-- OK, we are making forward progress. I would not take either job until I heard about both jobs. The world is real tough out here, so we need to use some strategy to move forward.
I too am unfamiliar with unpaid internships, however, might be a way to begin; however, I would establish a "free" cut off date, say 90-120 days-- if at that point, your work and contributions as a team member are satisfactory, then you need a salary. I would do some checking on the NSPE web site to see what 2011 CE's are starting at, about $60K, or so said the web site.
I would not take a position and then 2 days later walk-- better to drag your feet for a week and see what happens. However, if you take an unpaid position and get a paid offer, take the paid offer-- you have loans to pay back!

Thank you notes-- note the generation of the folks that you talked with-- if they are Gen Xers or Boomers, send them an WRITTEN note-- not the email variety. Email will work for Gen Y and Millenials---

Don't tap dance around what you don't know. If the drawings appear to be chinese to you, tell them that is not where your strong suite is-- of course, they will be able to tell if you know what they are or not-- you probably have had some exposure to this in class, if you were paying attention and not worrying what you were going to do with your girl friend!!

You can do this-- I continue to have great faith in your skills-- have self confidence and go.

I am still waiting for your resume for review, my previous offer still stands.

#34 californiadude

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 10:35 PM

about the construction plans, i asked a friend who's a mechanical engineer who says he can show me how to read them.

Interview #1 on tuesday (5/3/11): a local city's public works department. interviewer says i should study up on how to read construction plans for the interview questions. (unpaid)

Interview #2 on Wednesday (5/4/11): a local county position for intern as a traffic engineer (unpaid). it seems like she's willing to start me right away. apparently the current traffic engineer just quit today. she also told me about a position for a paid assistant engineer opening in a month and be expects to hire someone within 2 months. I'm assuming this unpaid intern is probably good way to get my foot in the door for an eventual paid position with this county.


my senior year, i took a graduate course in traffic engineering, as well regular undergrad in highway design. i actually did not like traffic engineering with the traffic modeling and signal optimization stuff. found it kind of tedious, but tolerable. i found highway design to be a little more interesting. i also liked hydraulics too, but never took any courses beyond that. in other words, i suspect the career opportunities are broader in transportation with respect to public works (unsure) than traffic engineering. but if traffic engineering offers a paid position say in 2 mths, is it worth it to take that and then maybe change jobs laterally? or am i thinking too far ahead?


solomonb, what's ur email or how do i send u my resume?

thanks

Edited by californiadude, 29 April 2011 - 10:48 PM.


#35 solomonb

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 02:40 AM


Dude-- I would not think too far ahead. You may find that what you did in class and what they do in the real world are different. You need to be as open minded and malable as you can-- in other words, if the job is in civil engineering, be very open to exploring it and seeing where it may lead.

Your real education is about to begin-- nothing to take away from school, however, now you are going to put to use that which you learned in school. I think that you may be very plesantly surprised at what the opportunities are for you!!!!

Take all of the options and explore them-- there is a lot to learn-- you can never tell what may happen!

I sent you a private message on how to get ahold of me with your resume. We'll see how it looks.

Good Luck!

#36 SSmith

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 12:18 AM

I would take a motorcycle trip as far as I could go. Find a part time job when cash gets low and repeat.

There'll be plenty of time down the road to get a desk job to pay down your mortgage and support a family...

#37 californiadude

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:54 AM

Today I had my interview at a local city with the Public Works department. Its population is just under 100k. It was for an unpaid internship. There were 3 engineers (senior, inspector, …) that asked me questions about my school projects, explained to me what I would be doing if I got hired. They also gave me a 30 minute test on reading a construction plan that was totally different than the HVAC drawings my mech eng. Buddy prepped me for. I was given a plan based on the construction of a trail along a highway (about 90 sheets long) I told them this was my first time reading a construction plan and only could answer the questions via logical reasoning not fully on experience or classroom knowledge.

These were the questions http://i.imgur.com/GU24g.jpg
They said there were 3 other fresh grads applying for this same unpaid internship.

They said they mostly check the progress and if the work that contractors do is according to standard. They handle the bids, field measurements etc… not much design, mostly construction management. I asked them about any future fulltime job openings with the city for entry level engineers. They said they don’t know of any coming up, but if it does, as an intern I’d get priority. I’ve taken highway design and surveying in college, I found it fairly interesting.

Tomorrow, I have an interview at a different county, population of 700k. They’re looking for a traffic engineering intern. (unpaid) They’ll probably ask me about Synchro and other traffic simulation soSucks!are. From the classes I’ve taken, I found it kind of tedious and boring. I’m prepping for the interview by going over the traffic engineering textbook. The county will be hiring a full time assistant traffic engineer within 1 month, and I assume if I get hired and do a good job as an intern I’ll have priority and advantage over other applicants for the full time spot.

My question is, say I get offered the unpaid intern spot at both agencies. Which should I choose? I suspect I like Dept. of public works stuff more than traffic. However traffic eng appears to be more likely to offer chances of a f/t job? How easy is it to transfer to different aspects of civil engineering once working for a county?
I’m also thinking dept. of public works stuff is more broad and diversified and offers more job opportunities rather than a specialized niche such as traffic engineering. i.e. dept of public works guys with that construction inspection background can easily go into the private sector or other public agencies.

Edited by californiadude, 04 May 2011 - 04:55 AM.


#38 picusld

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 11:17 AM

QUOTE (californiadude @ May 4 2011, 12:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Today I had my interview at a local city with the Public Works department. Its population is just under 100k. It was for an unpaid internship. There were 3 engineers (senior, inspector, …) that asked me questions about my school projects, explained to me what I would be doing if I got hired. They also gave me a 30 minute test on reading a construction plan that was totally different than the HVAC drawings my mech eng. Buddy prepped me for. I was given a plan based on the construction of a trail along a highway (about 90 sheets long) I told them this was my first time reading a construction plan and only could answer the questions via logical reasoning not fully on experience or classroom knowledge.

These were the questions http://i.imgur.com/GU24g.jpg
They said there were 3 other fresh grads applying for this same unpaid internship.

They said they mostly check the progress and if the work that contractors do is according to standard. They handle the bids, field measurements etc… not much design, mostly construction management. I asked them about any future fulltime job openings with the city for entry level engineers. They said they don’t know of any coming up, but if it does, as an intern I’d get priority. I’ve taken highway design and surveying in college, I found it fairly interesting.

Tomorrow, I have an interview at a different county, population of 700k. They’re looking for a traffic engineering intern. (unpaid) They’ll probably ask me about Synchro and other traffic simulation soSucks!are. From the classes I’ve taken, I found it kind of tedious and boring. I’m prepping for the interview by going over the traffic engineering textbook. The county will be hiring a full time assistant traffic engineer within 1 month, and I assume if I get hired and do a good job as an intern I’ll have priority and advantage over other applicants for the full time spot.

My question is, say I get offered the unpaid intern spot at both agencies. Which should I choose? I suspect I like Dept. of public works stuff more than traffic. However traffic eng appears to be more likely to offer chances of a f/t job? How easy is it to transfer to different aspects of civil engineering once working for a county?
I’m also thinking dept. of public works stuff is more broad and diversified and offers more job opportunities rather than a specialized niche such as traffic engineering. i.e. dept of public works guys with that construction inspection background can easily go into the private sector or other public agencies.


Pick the one closest to your house. But if had to do it again, I would have gone traffic.

#39 Capt Worley PE

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 12:09 PM

QUOTE (SSmith @ May 3 2011, 08:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would take a motorcycle trip as far as I could go. Find a part time job when cash gets low and repeat.

Along Came Bronson was the name of that show, right?

#40 wilheldp_PE

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 12:59 PM

In your position, I would definitely take the job that had a reasonable chance of getting me a paid job. Then again, I wouldn't even be applying for unpaid internships.

#41 SSmith

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:27 PM

QUOTE (Capt Worley PE @ May 4 2011, 07:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (SSmith @ May 3 2011, 08:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would take a motorcycle trip as far as I could go. Find a part time job when cash gets low and repeat.

Along Came Bronson was the name of that show, right?

I hadn't heard of the show until you mentioned it here; but after a quick wiki review, it sounds about right. If I were in the OP's shoes, that's exactly what I would be doing right now. Bottom line, I've ever needed a job bad enough to work for someone else for free. It's just not rational.

And if that's truly where things are with the OP, then a healthy dose of perspective is needed immediately. Reality is that you only live once. You are only young once. And you are voluntarily choosing to give that time away.

#42 Capt Worley PE

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:36 PM

QUOTE (SSmith @ May 4 2011, 11:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Capt Worley PE @ May 4 2011, 07:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (SSmith @ May 3 2011, 08:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would take a motorcycle trip as far as I could go. Find a part time job when cash gets low and repeat.

Along Came Bronson was the name of that show, right?

I hadn't heard of the show until you mentioned it here; but after a quick wiki review, it sounds about right. If I were in the OP's shoes, that's exactly what I would be doing right now. Bottom line, I've ever needed a job bad enough to work for someone else for free. It's just not rational.

And if that's truly where things are with the OP, then a healthy dose of perspective is needed immediately. Reality is that you only live once. You are only young once. And you are voluntarily choosing to give that time away.

A friend of mine was a nuke power officer on the Abraham Licoln years and years ago. He said two other co-workers quit the Navy, bought Harleys and decided to circle the US counterclockwise. He said they got to Wyoming before they stopped and bought a bar together.

#43 Kephart P.E.

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:03 PM

QUOTE (californiadude @ Apr 25 2011, 01:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE
Every morning, out the door at 0730, resumes, cards and a map in hand. Go pound on every door that is even close to what you want to do. Practice the elevator speech, be nice to the receptionist, the goal is to get the resume in the hands of someone other than the janitor.


do you mean literally drive door to door to engineering companies? a phone call won't do it? (gas's expensive these days)

@kephart: point taken, yeah i was talking to a senior eng. at a local city, he recommended also applying more towards private firms, since the govt jobs lag the economy by about 1 to 2 years.

this thurs. im going to an ASCE meeting in the bay area, to network and pass out my resume

i also just applied to grad school for a masters in Civil eng. as a backup in case i can't find a f/t job by fall.


thanks for the help guys, appreciate it


I know gas is expensive and you might be tapped out, but this is what Credit Cards are made for. I don't like using credit at all, but this is one area I would do it. You need a short term loan to get you over the hump, -----plus 500 dollars of gas will get you a long ways.

Just don't use it for other things.

#44 californiadude

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 10:06 PM

Today, (5/4/11), I had an interview at the county as an unpaid traffic intern. They offered me the intern spot. They said they plan on hiring 3 full time positions within the month for assistant/ associate traffic engineer. The deputy director & operations manager who interviewed me today will also be the hiring panel for the full time positions. (So if I do a good job, I’ve probably got at least a 70% shot at a permanent paid position)

This is a road services division under the dept. of public works. They handle the unincorporated areas of the county. Basically the areas of the county that are not under jurisdiction of a city. They do traffic counts and handle complaints of citizens, usually about speeding, parking etc... They come up with “creative solutions” to these problems. Usually speed signs, re striping etc… not too much traffic signalization since it deals with unincorporated areas.

They also told me that even if I work for this division, it does not stop me in the future from doing lateral transfers to other divisions such as engineering roadway design, sewers, etc…
Is it a good idea to take this offer to get my foot in the door & get paid while I look for opportunities to lateral transfer within the county if I don’t like this work? I told them I'd make a decision by early Friday. also this road services division has a separate budget than the county general budget meaning that this road services division is doing much better financially than the county or state, so they can afford to hire permanent positions

Edited by californiadude, 04 May 2011 - 10:13 PM.


#45 wilheldp_PE

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 10:47 PM

If they offered it on the spot, and you have no other firm offers, you should have accepted it on the spot.

#46 SSmith

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 03:07 AM

Was there an interview before they offered the position? If I were doing the interview, I'd be doing cartwheels finding one person that would want the job without pay just the loose promise of something in the future...

Regardless, why were you even there if you weren't interested in accepting the internship they were offering?

And your 70% number is not rooted in anything close to reality IMHO...

#47 chaosiscash

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 10:19 AM

See quote below.

#48 californiadude

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 10:00 AM

QUOTE (SSmith @ May 5 2011, 04:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Was there an interview before they offered the position? If I were doing the interview, I'd be doing cartwheels finding one person that would want the job without pay just the loose promise of something in the future...

Regardless, why were you even there if you weren't interested in accepting the internship they were offering?

And your 70% number is not rooted in anything close to reality IMHO...



QUOTE (chaosiscash @ May 5 2011, 11:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
See quote below.


u guys are in the deep south. i live in california, the largest and probably the most bankrupt state in the country. my professors usually ask at the start of each semester how many people have internships. out of 30 ppl, we'll see maybe 2 or 3 ppl with internships in our senior year. i know one girl a junior, who was lucky to have found an "unpaid" internship in LA county. our state dept. of transportation "caltrans" has been on a hiring freeze since late 2007 i believe. our state has MAJOR budget problems

california also has one the highest unemployment rates in the private sector. when i drove around in orange county late 2010, you would see clean cut white guys in their mid 30s at traffic intersections with signs begging for money. you would see signs saying "father of 2, can not find work, please help" these aren't ur average bums. CLEAN CUT WHITE GUYS in their 30's trying to sell bottled water for $2. that's how bad it is.

I have friends who graduated w/ 3.8 gpas and 2 years of experience with major construction firms unemployed for over 6 mths after sending out 200 resumes and using headhunters.

i'm not turning down paid jobs, but i have to take what i'm being offered.

#49 Capt Worley PE

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 12:22 PM

^You're so far out there, there isn't any point trying to retrieve you.



#50 willsee

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 01:11 PM

Why would you keep applying for government jobs when you yourself say that the state is bankrupt?
Why not move? I sold my house and moved 4 hours south into a rental home after being unemployed for a year and found a GREAT job with great people.




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